Deb Malewski

Contributing Writer

We hear many stories about how the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt businesses, but Harley Swan, of Eaton Rapids, found a way to use the situation to create a thriving and needed business. She will wash, dry, fold and organize your laundry, using her own homemade organic laundry detergent, if desired, to give it a great smell and help prevent skin irritation.
Starting a laundry service was not something that she’d always dreamed about doing, Swan stated, like entrepreneurs often do. It came about from being a good sister with a large laundry room in her new house, and a worldwide pandemic closing in around her. Her sister was pregnant and was leery about going to the laundromat due to the coronavirus, so Swan offered to do her laundry for her. The laundry room was set up with an access door so that she could drop her laundry off without entering Swan’s main living area.
This created a realization in Swan. “I could totally do this for a living,” she told her husband, Dillion. “It doesn’t bother me at all, and it is actually quite satisfying.”
Her husband, a real estate agent, came up with the business name, Har’s Garments. Swan credits him with being her biggest motivator. He also helps by delivering the orders she processes. With the name chosen, Swan knew she had to make it happen. Har’s Garments officially started in May 2020.
When she realized that her business was taking off, Swan decided it was time to leave her full-time job as a loan officer, working out of her home, for Michigan State University Federal Credit Union.  She had worked there for six years. She also had a new baby at home, Dillon, who needed her attention.
“People thought I was crazy to give all that up,” she said. “I thought it was bold and exciting.”
“I realized I had a desirable service, and that I can help many people under many different circumstances,” she said. “I also meet a lot of new people, which might be my favorite part of the business.”
“Oddly enough, COVID impacted my business in a very positive way,” Swan said. “It allows people who can’t do laundry at home to avoid public places and to feel safe, plus it gives the convenience of not having to do their laundry.”  Har’s Garments offers pickup and delivery service.
“I like making a positive difference in someone’s life by taking some weight off their shoulders,” Swan explained.
In between work, baby, and life, Swan started a second business for her photography, Har’s Moments, in November 2020. The laundry room is spacious enough to hold both businesses.
The usual turnaround time for laundry is 24 hours, Swan explained, but for an exceptionally large order, it might take longer. She once had an order which weighed approximately 220 pounds and required two days. The most she has done in a day was about 160 pounds of clothes, she said. She also will wash dog beds and comforters.
“The larger the order, the better. I like a challenge!” Swan admitted. “I’m very efficient.”
Swan sees a great benefit from working at home with her young son nearby.
“He’s watching hard work firsthand and observing my interactions with customers, which ultimately is teaching him how to treat others with kindness and respect. And remembering to always be kind and lend a helping hand when it’s needed!”
When she first started the business, her sister-in-law suggested “You need something that sets you apart from any other wash and fold…you should make your own detergent.”
“I thought that was genius!” Swan said. Her son has some skin issues, so she has always been careful about soap for her own laundry.  She created an organic detergent which is optional and at no extra charge to her clients and is available to purchase by the gallon and half-gallon to use at home.
“I am grateful that there are so many people willing to support me in all I do. I knew that I could achieve my goals of a happier version of myself,” Swan said.
“I was doing something I enjoyed that allowed me the time I deserved with my baby. Living my life as I choose to live it has been the biggest blessing I could ever ask for,” she added.
You can contact Har’s Garments through Facebook by sending a message to @harsgarments.  Or you can call or text her at 517-980-2987.